Our Best for the Master
by Bethany Khng
I would like to share 2 verses from Colossians 3:23-24. The Apostle Paul wrote, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” He was writing to the slaves of his days for whom it was hard to throw their soul into the work. He reminded them that they were not working for men but for God.
More than 200 years ago, there lived in Italy a maker of violins. When he became able to have a workshop of his own he made it a rule that no violin should ever leave the shop until it was as near perfection as human care and skill could make it. He said, “God needs violins to send His music into the world, and if my violins are defective, God’s music will be spoiled.” Bending over his workbench in Cremona, Antonia Stradivari, who died on December 18, 1737, issued a vow that has remained valid, “Other men will make other violins, but no man shall make a better one.” The message from this master craftsman is clear: Only the best or none at all!
Michelangelo is one of the most famous Italian sculptors of all time. His many masterpieces have inspired mankind for 400 years. Yet, he was never satisfied with his work! After completing his towering statue of Moses, acclaimed as his greatest work, the master sculptor surveyed his work and then in anger, he struck the knee of his statue with his chisel, crying, “Why dost thou not speak?” Here was a man whose ideal was to make cold marble come to life! Today we can see the long, narrow dent on the knee of Michelangelo’s Moses. It is the trademark of a man who never realised the perfection of his dream, yet he would attempt the impossible and not allow himself to be lulled to sleep by self-satisfaction. Only little men are ever satisfied with their accomplishments – that’s why they remain little. The big men are never satisfied, that’s why they become great.
Charles Dickens, a great English novelist, when asked the secret of his success, answered, “Whatsoever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do it well: whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely.” This is simply another version of Paul’s advice, “Whatsoever you do, do it heartily.” Stradivari was committed to his instrument, Michelangelo his art and Charles Dickens his writings. For these dedicated men, it was either the best or nothing. As Christians, we can and should emulate their worthy examples – to be the best that we can be; to do our utmost for the Highest, for we are serving the Lord Christ. There should be no room for lukewarmness or half-heartedness in our service for Jesus, our heavenly Master. In closing, ponder over the words of this hymn and do what you know is the right thing to do:
“Give of your best to the Master; Give him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service, Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you shall be given; God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him, Give Him the best that you have.”
(The above was shared by Mrs Bethany Khng at her school assembly during a morning devotion on May 24, 1996.)
(Christ Our Head, Church Anniversary Magazine 2)
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